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Bestival, Blissfield and Festibelly festivals join fight against legal highs
THREE of the south's most popular music festivals have joined together in the fight against legal highs.
Bestival, Blissfields, and Festibelly will take part in a nationwide “digital blackout” tomorrow to highlight the danger of taking drugs.
The festivals' websites and social media accounts will go down for 24 hours.
Fans visiting the homepages will be met with a black window except for a grey light bulb and the message: “Don't be in the Dark about Legal Highs”.
They are among 20 UK festivals taking part in the campaign including T in the Park, Lovebox, and Global Gathering.
Two of the south's biggest festivals - the Isle of Wight Festival and BoomTown - are not taking part.
The initiative comes after the Daily Echo launched its Say No to Legal Highs campaign in October last year after the potentially fatal substances claimed the lives of young people in Hampshire and left others seriously ill.
Some of the substances are readily available to buy in Hampshire shops and online.
The campaign calls on tougher laws, vendors and sellers to be held to account, and tighter controls to stop vulnerable youngsters from being able to buy the products over the counter.
The “digital blackout” has been organised by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) and backed by Bestival founder Rob da Bank.
It is also hoped to reach an audience of 500,000 people.
Rob, who is a DJ on Radio One and lives on the Isle of Wight, said: “It was universally agreed it was something we wanted to support.
"There's no point in being lovey-dovey about this, but the message is particularly to young people who have never tried legal highs or are thinking of trying them and just showing them how the risks outweigh the benefits."
The initiative comes after Home Office minister Norman Baker warned authorities are involved in a ''race with chemists'' in India and China who are producing potentially dangerous new legal highs on a weekly basis.
AIF's co-founder and vice-chairman, Ben Turner, said: ''Legal highs are a serious concern for any festival organiser and the issue is only going to get bigger.
''The substances have managed to fly under the radar purely by evolving faster than the monitoring bodies can regulate.
''Banning it at our festivals is only part of the battle however, we need to make fans aware of the dangers of legal highs and help them make safer choices when having fun on-site.''
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